Stephen Lloyd MP and Residents try to save Langney Library from Conservative Closure

I was at County Hall in Lewes on Tuesday to make a final plea to the Council cabinet on behalf of Langney Library. I also supported the Residents Association Chairman, John Pritchett, in his eloquent request that Willingdon is spared as well. Alongside us were representatives from Polegate library and Ringmer. We all reiterated how important libraries are in the community, acting as a hub, how they offer access to the internet and PC’s for those seeking employment. In Langney’s case, it’s position in the heart of the shopping centre makes it doubly valuable as a community resource. Supported by local schools such as West Rise, as well as many elderly residents, some of whom will struggle to get into town to the main Eastbourne Library.

Sadly. All that we said fell on deaf ears. One of the Conservative councillors even talked about the ‘community value’ brought by libraries; what community value do they bring if he and his colleagues choose to close them?

In a bizarre statement, another said the Council "can provide computers (to any of the closing libraries reopening as community libraries under their own steam) so long as there is NO COST to the County Council" ?!?!?!

Meanwhile, we hear that in Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s constituency, Hastings, East Sussex County Council went over budget in refurbishing the library by £720,000. Shutting all seven libraries this week saved them £650k. Not a good look frankly!

The fact is the Conservative controlled County Council yesterday closed a full quarter of our library network along with the mobile library. All because the government (also Conservative) have ignored their lobbying and savagely cut their grant.  I am bound to ask, therefore, what’s the point of them as they obviously have so little clout with their own Tory colleagues in government?

Library users, the broader community, - all of us - across Eastbourne, Willingdon and the county were let down this week.

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